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RealTime Economic Issues Watch

In RealTime posts, PIIE senior staff and colleagues discuss the fast-moving economic news, financial developments, and public policy choices confronting the United States and the world.

Recent Posts

Double Win for the Trade Liberalization in Bali

by | November 19th, 2014 | 03:26 pm

Two recent developments have the trade world buzzing and for good reason: the US-China agreement on tariff liberalization as part of the expanded Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and the US-India resolution to the impasse over the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). These two agreements, along with the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) under negotiation by 22 […]

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The New Ukrainian Government Must Save the Country

by | November 19th, 2014 | 09:51 am

Ukraine is in a vicious financial crisis. Threatened constantly by Russian military aggression, the country faces a financial meltdown within the next four months. At the end of October, its international reserves fell to $12.6 billion, below the threshold considered critical for solvency. The hryvnia exchange rate is falling exponentially. As a consequence, most of […]

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IMF Governance Reform: Unfinished Business for the 113th Congress

by | November 12th, 2014 | 12:19 pm

US senators and representatives return to Washington on November 12 to complete the urgent unfinished business of the 113th Congress. They have a lot unfinished, and very high on that list for both the administration and the Congress should be approval of the 2010 International Monetary Fund (IMF) governance reform package. The administration has signaled […]

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The European Union’s Cap on Banker Bonuses Is a Good Idea

by | November 6th, 2014 | 02:36 pm

Recently, Andrew Bailey, chief executive officer of the UK Prudential Regulatory Authority, came out against the European Union’s cap on banker bonuses. The timing of his comments was odd. They undermined the European Banking Authority’s new clampdown on banks’ use of allowances to get around the cap. His comments also came at a time when […]

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The 2014 EU-Wide Bank Stress Test Lacks Credibility

by | November 5th, 2014 | 09:25 am

On October 26, 2014, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) released the results of the latest EU-wide stress test and the accompanying asset quality review (AQR).1 The 2014 stress test encompasses four key findings: (1) the aggregate capital shortfall for the 123 banks participating in the test is €24.6 billion; […]

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Will a Republican Senate Be Good for Trade?

by | November 3rd, 2014 | 05:35 pm

If voters give the GOP control of the Senate on November 4, as many polls suggest, the prospects of approving Trade Promotion Authority (TPA, or “fast track”), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are likely to improve. There are four reasons for this assessment. First, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) […]

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Whither Europe’s Banks after the Stress Test?

by | October 29th, 2014 | 05:35 pm

The new comprehensive assessement of the European banking sector—including the “stress tests” of banks—was released in late October and made headlines by highlighting progress toward solvency and health in the banking system. But the tests also underscored concerns that many banks will need more capital and a more profitable business model to survive in the […]

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Why France Needs Political Reform

by | October 29th, 2014 | 09:19 am

Despite recent unflattering jokes, France is not an economic basket case. Blessed with numerous competitive high value-added industries, France is also visited by more foreign tourists than any other country in the world. It has also performed far better than the euro area periphery and the islands off the coast of the Continent on the […]

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Ukraine Votes for Europe and Reforms

by | October 28th, 2014 | 09:01 am

On October 26, Ukraine held early parliamentary elections. The elections were free and fair. Six parties are entering parliament, of which three or four may join a coalition government. On the whole the results were as expected, giving the current pro-European government a strong mandate, which should help it to carry out badly needed economic […]

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Europe’s Banking Union Starts on an Encouraging Note

by | October 27th, 2014 | 12:33 pm

Sunday, October 26 was D-Day for Europe’s banks: At noon in Frankfurt, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced [pdf] the results of its “comprehensive assessment” of the euro area’s 130 largest banks, including an Asset Quality Review (AQR) and stress tests. Simultaneously in London, the European Banking Authority (EBA) announced the results [pdf] of these […]

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